According to a report from WRAL.com, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perduesaid Tuesday that rules governing how state agencies lease vehicles need to be reworked to avoid wasteful spending. Some agencies have paid millions of dollars for miles they did not drive, and others had questionable record-keeping practices.
State agencies lease their fleet vehicles from the North Carolina Motor Fleet Management Division, which is fully funded by the fees collected on the vehicles. By law, the division charges for a monthly minimum of 1,050 miles on each vehicle to cover maintenance, insurance and gas for more than 8,500 state-owned vehicles. If vehicles are driven more than 1,050 miles in a month, the agency must pay extra. If cars travel less than 1,050 miles, agencies must still pay the minimum rate.
Over the past year, the unused miles have added up due to the Governor’s orders to cut travel expenses due to a record budget shortfall. From July 2008 to June 2009, the state Department of Correction spent $1.7 million on parked cars. More than half of the state Department of Health and Human Services vehicles drove under the minimum mileage, costing the agency more than $1 million.
Gov. Perdue said agencies could end up returning several vehicles to Motor Fleet Management and having their employees share vehicles to recoup the costs. She also said the law regarding usage of state-owned vehicles might need to be updated.
The motor fleet statute that covers mileage was adopted in 1981 and has never been changed. By law, Motor Fleet Management is limited in its oversight. Once an agency rents a vehicle, the division can’t take it away as long as the bills are being paid.
Photo courtesy of lastdue under the Creative Commons License.